Monday, December 27, 2010
New Jersey Medal Of Honor Winner
William Joyce Sewell was born December 6th 1835 in Castlebar, Mayo, Ireland. He immigrated to the United State in 1851, working first in Chicago, Illinois as a merchant, before moving to Camden, New Jersey in 1860.
When the Civil war started he joined the 5th New Jersey Infantry, and rose to command with the rank of Colonel. Sewell saw action in the Peninsular Campaign and at Second Bull Run. His Medal of Honor which was awarded in 1896 came from his assuming command of a brigade during the Battle of Chancellorsville May 3rd 1863, when Brigadier General Gershom Mott was wounded and had to leave the field. Sewell rallied the men and led a successful counterattack. Sewell was wounded July 2nd 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg while with his unit along the Emmitsburg Road. He would receive a promotion to Major General March 13th 1865 for his "gallant and meritorious services during the war".
After the war Sewell worked in the railroad industry in New Jersey. He was a New Jersey state senator from 1872 to 1881. As a republican Sewell served in the United States Senate from 1881 to 1887, and then again in 1895. He was a commissioner for New Jersey at the World’s Columbian Exposition, commander of the 2nd New Jersey National Guard, and on the board of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Sewell died in Camden, New Jersey December 27th 1901, and is buried in Harleigh Cemetery there.